A team of researchers from the University of Haifa have stumbled upon a rare desert plant living in Israel's mountainous Negev desert, which can irrigate itself.

The plant, desert rhubarb Rheum palaestinum, was first classified by a local botanist about 70 years ago. It has adapted to harsh desert climates by developing specially designed leaves - broad and with grooves and channels - to funnel even the slightest bit of rainwater directly to its roots.

It is the only known plant of its kind in the world, and could teach science - and people - new ways for maximizing water distribution in agriculture, especially in extremely arid regions. Locals say it is found only in Israel and nearby Jordan.

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